Hector Bellerin’s recovery from injury has been seemingly never-ending. Indeed, the Spaniard has suffered more than his fair share of misfortune in recent times, with the troubles he is only just starting to overcome traceable all the way back to the start of the 2018/19 season. Finally, though, Bellerin is back playing first-team football for Arsenal again, playing the full 90 minutes in Thursday’s 2-0 away win over Southampton.
While the Gunners enjoyed a largely fuss-free evening at St Mary’s Stadium, registering their first win since the resumption of the Premier League season after the coronavirus shutdown, this had the potential to be a tricky test for Bellerin. The Spaniard passed that test with flying colours, though, turning in arguably the most complete performance of his comeback so far.
Pitted directly against Ryan Bertrand, Bellerin had his hands full right from the start. Much of Southampton’s game plan, at least from an attacking point of view, appeared to focus around getting the left-back in behind the Arsenal defensive line. More than once, they attempted to play a diagonal, cross-field ball in behind Bellerin, but he was alert to the danger.
The 25-year-old made a particularly impressive intervention five minutes before half-time, sliding in on Bertrand to make a last-ditch tackle when the Southampton left-back would have otherwise been through on Emiliano Martinez in the Arsenal goal. Bellerin was both aware and confident enough in his own physical capacity to stretch and win the ball.